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Should you buy a grant management system or develop it?

Build vs. Buy: Should You Buy a Grant Management Software or Develop it Internally?

Picture this scene: your organizations’ community investment projects are growing, and you realize that you definitely need a dedicated solution. It is already clear to you that a grant management system would speed up the processes and streamline the workflow. But you start weighing the pros and cons of building a solution and buying it from a vendor but estimating the long-term consequences can be difficult. Do you relate to that? Well, you are not alone. 

To build or choose a cost-effective solution for your foundation, you need to consider many things, and many people struggle to make the right decision. Here are some points to consider when deciding if you should buy or develop your grant management system.

Do I really need a grant management system in the first place? 

Every day, new technological solutions appear to change the way we did a certain task. Those who do not understand the importance of software in their organization – whatever their area of expertise – tend to fall behind.

When your organization doesn’t have a grant management system, the grant managers will not be able to track and report the grant life cycle performance data in real-time. Among grantees and internal users, there will be less collaboration and negotiation.

So, to avoid all the chaos, it is wise for both the applicants and organizations to invest in a grant management system. A good grant management tool can make sure that your grant is being put to good use by:

  • Collecting the right applicants, reviewing applications, selecting worthy recipients, and tracking grant budget;
  • Reducing bureaucratic and manual work, making most of the team’s time available for other tasks;
  • Organizing and monitoring information, resources, goals, and overall partners;  
  • Improving information security, performing data backup, providing restricted access when needed;

Build vs Buy grant management software

Should my foundation develop its own grant management solution? 

To develop software that meets your needs, it is necessary to know about all processes’ operational functioning. Just knowing how to write codes is not enough. 

The developer needs to know how to conduct a project from conception to understanding your foundation needs. This work involves listening, gathering information, making prototypes, testing, adjusting, approving, and implementing. Software development is a complex activity that requires a lot of technical knowledge, as well as problem-solving skills. 

You should build your own grant management software internally if:

  • You have a strong IT department that will be able to support your team 24/7 during implementation and in the long-term;
  • You have a problem unique to your organization, and there is no available software that addresses this problem; 
  • You have time and resources to spend on it;

Cons of building your own grant management software:

  • Time, experience, and resources are required to determine how exactly the tool should be like, write the code, implement changes, etc;
  • Training the staff to use your internally developed grant management tool might be time-consuming. Your IT and HR department should be able to support the training internally; 
  • Often, your internally developed grant management tool will have lower functionalities than a vendor’s product would; 

You should buy your grant management system from a vendor if:

  • Your IT department is not ready to build the tool and support your team in the long-term;
  • You have a common problem that customizable grant management tools can address;
  • Many people in your organization would use the software; 
  • The use of the grant management software is critical to your foundation’s operations;

Build vs Buy grant management software

Is it worth it developing your own grant management system?

Generally speaking, the answer is no. Of course, there are successful cases in which foundations have developed their own software and were very satisfied with it. But they are the minority. Most of the organizations that invested in their own grant management software chose to do so because there was really nothing that covered that sector of activity in the past. The investment in your own solution can reach 10 times the value of the implementation of an already existing grant management software.

Naturally, each foundation is unique and has specific demands that a grant management software should perfectly fit. The great advantage of digitalizing your grant management process this late in the game is that currently, there are many varieties of ready-made software on the market. Its majority allows some adjustments to be made to adapt to the reality of your foundation, and some can even add an API to perfectly integrate your workflow with the CSR management software. Learn more about API management.  

As you can see, there are many factors to be considered when deciding to buy a grant management software or develop it internally. That’s why, when you think about developing your own solution, it’s necessary to put all the steps, costs, pros, and cons on paper. As we have said, the ideal strategy is to search thoroughly for a solution already consolidated, even if it needs some adjustments to adapt to your company.

The Generali Bank from Italy is one of those organizations that realized that an internally built solution was not worth it and have been using Optimy instead since 2017. 

Build vs Buy grant management software

Best grant management software

Why you should consider Optimy:

Optimy’s grant management system helps your foundation collect grant applications, select the best grant-seeker, be on top of ongoing projects with document and task management tools, and report on your grant management activities. 

“The Optimy tool is created to adapt to foundations’ needs. Optimy helped us to be more aligned across our projects, and I like that it’s an online tool. With times we are living, the tool has a big positive impact on how we work as a team.” – Xio Fong Vilaysane, Project Manager at the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation.

Here are our competitive edges:

Best grant management software

Flexibility: If you are looking to build your own grant management software because you think that no ready-made solution will be able to adapt to your organization’s processes, think again. Our products are designed to adapt to you, not the other way around. Foundations have a variety of ways of working, and our solutions fit all these different workflows, allowing you to make changes on the fly. 

High-Quality but affordable products: At Optimy, you get the best bang for your buck. Our cost-effective solutions include beautiful and easy-to-use software that even the most technophobic users will have no problem navigating.  

Time-saving solutions: Nowadays, we have to use our time wisely. Aside from automated features, Optimy products also help you get organized so that you can claim your time back. 

Dedicated account executive: Our multicultural customer success team always goes the extra mile to ensure our clients reach their goals. They build a genuine rapport with our clients by listening to what they have to say and coming up with creative solutions to complex problems. 

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